A Parlor Shame
MARCEL PROUST: What is your idea of happiness?
IVANKA TRUMP: I prefer simple pleasures. Curling up with a good Instagram Story. Or sometimes I’ll scroll through my own Instagram or Twitter and I’ll notice myself in a silk-cashmere jumpsuit, standing regally beside a small business owner, one of the incredible entrepreneurs recently rescued by the Paycheck Protection Program, and that will make me happy. Happiness is being able to make a difference, wearing a three-thousand-dollar jumpsuit. Are they called “small business owners” because they’re short?
PROUST: Non. What is your idea of misery?
IVANKA: Brunch with Karen Pence. Have you seen her in a sleeveless sheath dress? My mother-in-law, Seryl Kushner, has dubbed Karen “scary Edie McClurg.”
PROUST: If not yourself, who would you be?
IVANKA: I’d probably be someone who wants to be me. Or I’d clone myself and be that person. Or am I already a clone of myself? Maybe I’d be myself with bangs, which, these days, is so not me.
PROUST: Where would you like to live?
IVANKA: Well, I’m over D.C. and renting from a Chilean billionaire. I know there are people who think seven thousand square feet is a lot of space, but, don’t forget, I’m pretty sure I have three children.
PROUST: What is your favorite color?
IVANKA: That question is impossible to answer. Choosing a favorite color is like choosing a favorite child. They’re all precious. That’s why I have a stylist.
PROUST: Choosing a favorite color is nothing like choosing a favorite child.
IVANKA: You’re right because each of your children doesn’t come in a lighter and darker shade and you can’t blend two children to create a bold, radiant secondary child, so it’s easier to choose a favorite child because your options are limited.
PROUST: What is your favorite color?
IVANKA: Well, if you subpoenaed me and I was under oath, I’d have to say… pink. But promise you won’t tell yellow or sky blue.
PROUST: Who is your favorite author?
IVANKA: Well, of course, the Founding Fathers. They wrote the Constitution, at a time when there was no internet, so they couldn’t google “how to write a constitution,” which now you can totally do, and there was no hyaluronic acid face mist, so it was also a time when women were really disadvantaged.
PROUST: What is your favorite passage from the Constitution of the United States of America?
IVANKA: I love the entire Constitution, every single word, because, like most great writing, I haven’t read it. If a woman wants to stay home and read, that’s fine; she’s the architect of her life. But I’m an advisor to the President, a wife, mother, former model, reluctant sister, so I don’t have a lot of time to read. I believe it was our incredible President who said, “The greatest books are the ones we’ll never read.” Make literature great again. Don’t read it.
PROUST: Who are your favorite poets?
IVANKA: I’d like to phone a friend. I mean, I’d like to phone a former friend: Chelsea Clinton. I’ll bet all of my Lindsey Adelman lighting fixtures that Chelsea devours poetry, late at night, when no one’s looking, then hates herself the next day.
PROUST: Who are your favorite painters?
IVANKA: One of my favorite painters is Dan Colen because he doesn’t use oils or acrylics or watercolors. Dan works in pre-chewed chewing gum. He requires all of his assistants to each chew many pieces of gum, while he smokes pot and tries not to laugh, then he applies the pieces of chewed gum to a canvas, while his assistants smoke pot and try not to laugh, then he titles the painting something like—Homage to Under a Barstool. I have one of Dan’s powerful chewing gum paintings, hanging in my home, and sometimes I’ll stare at it, studying the different chunks of gloopy Orbit and Dentyne, those amorphous, vague images staring back at me, vacantly, as though they have absolutely no interest in their new, elevated purpose, and I’ll think of Jared and try not to laugh.
PROUST: Who is your favorite fictional character?
IVANKA: I’d probably have to say the crowd at my father’s inauguration. President Trump vividly described a crowd of “a million-and-a-half people,” a crowd that “went all the way back to the Washington Monument.” He had a vision, he witnessed an apparition, like Saint Bernadette of Lourdes. It’s very possible that Pope Francis will declare my father patron saint of inaugurations. Maybe there should be a horror film about an American president who is followed by a large crowd that no one else sees. The President could be played by one of those imposing, antique, mahogany actors, like Tom Selleck. I love Tom because he always seems to be channeling an armoire.
PROUST: What are your favorite qualities in a man?
IVANKA: I can’t answer that question without mentioning Jared. He’s such an attentive husband and father, which must be very difficult for someone who’s constantly flatlining. I think of our relationship as a fairytale, in which I’m a princess who, years ago, kissed a bar of glycerin soap and the soap turned into a prince, but not all the way. When it comes to men, I’ve never been interested in eye contact or intonation.
PROUST: What is your chief characteristic?
IVANKA: My neck, obviously. Vice President Pence has described my neck as “Audrey Hepburn meets Brachiosaurus.” I love Mike’s sassiness. When I asked him why he didn’t wear a face mask while visiting the Mayo Clinic, he said, “Because I didn’t exfoliate for nothing.” And he’s so adorably austere, referring to Karen as “Mother,” Melania as “Masseuse,” and Jared as “Floor Lamp.”
PROUST: What is your main fault?
IVANKA: I suppose eclipsing other women when I walk into Cipriani. I’ll arrive for a luncheon, benefiting cerebral palsy or Doctors Without Summerhouses, decked in a violet chiffon midi dress with a cape overlay, hair swept into an updo, and heads turn, Lauren Bush seethes, because I give the impression of a chic android, a willowy superhero, who’s there to rescue everyone from the seating arrangements.
PROUST: I must go, immediatement.
IVANKA: Where are you going, so abrupt—ment?
PROUST: To read Gertrude Stein, disinfect my brain. Adieu pour toujours.
IVANKA: Wait, Marcel, I want to change my favorite color.